April 25, 2011
Carmen Harra grew up in an environment drastically different than your average American citizen. Raised in Communist Romania, Harra describes her upbringing as “extremely poor” yet with a strong sense of family. “Despite our poverty,” she writes, “we felt rich in our ability to lift each other up through any phase of life.”
Lessons from Harra’s upbringing come through in her new book “Wholeliness: Embracing the Sacred Unity That Heals Our World”. Harra defines wholeliness as “the condition, state of quality of being healed, whole, and in harmony with the Divine and all that exists.” Reflecting on her childhood and life today she writes “I’d always found it helpful to take part in certain practices – such as praying and sharing meals with others – that connected me to wholeliness and helped me reject the idea that life is a constant struggle for survival.”
I was motivated by the many wholeliness “lessons” throughout the book. One feature I especially liked was how the author concluded each chapter with three steps for the reader to consider: Observe, Pray, and Act. I found these summaries helpful to anchor the main points each chapter was making. Observe: how in my present life am I not living in a way that supports wholeliness? Pray: pray for Spirit’s help in transforming me to a more “wholely” lifestyle. Act: what small steps can I take today to change? Transforming myself from a “me first” orientation to one of wholeliness is at first glance a daunting task. The action steps at the end of the chapter helped me to see the transformation can happen bit by bit.
Coming out of a fundamentalist background to a more inclusive, whole spirituality has been part of my journey. I found truth in these words from Harra “The more that people feel insecure about what’s ahead, the more we can see them cling to whatever promises their safety. But fundamentalism will ultimately fade as we find comfort in wholeliness.”
The parts of the book that didn’t resonate with me as much were her chapters on numerology and astrology, and on communicating with the spirits of deceased relatives. Could these techniques help in achieving wholeliness? Perhaps, but I’m just not there yet. I also thought her predictions in the concluding chapter, such as “Barack Obama will be a one-term President”, veered away from her practical suggestions on how to live from a wholeliness perspective presented elsewhere in the book.
These are minor objections, though, as overall I feel “Wholeliness” is a book well worth reading. “You are part of a large family called the human race,” Herra writes. “Peace and power are yours when you realize that you’re never alone – that you’re always loved, heard, valued, and supported. This knowledge will give you the courage to believe in tomorrow and keep pressing forward, even when the road is treacherous and the path in front of you isn’t clear. That is the power of wholeliness.” I say amen to that, and Harra’s book is full of suggestions to help the reader live from a “wholeliness” orientation.
This is a book review in my partnership with Hay House. I was not financially compensated for this post. I received the book from Hay House for review purposes. The opinions are completely my own based on my experience.